Many resources exist on assisted reproductive technologies, genetics and stem-cell issues. The following represent only a handful:
• Bioethics: A Primer For Christians by Gilbert Meilaender (William B. Eerdmans, 2004).
• Counseling Pregnancy, Politics, and Biomedicine: Empowering Discernment by Patricia Elyse Terrell (Haworth, 2007).
• "Embryonic Stem Cells 2007" by Paul T. Nelson (Journal of Lutheran Ethics).
• For the Love of Children: Genetic Technology and the Future of the Family by Ted Peters (Westminster John Knox, 1996).
• Genetic Testing and Screening: Critical Engagement at the Intersection of Faith and Science, edited by Roger A. Willer (Kirk House, 1998).
• Genetics! Where Do We Stand as Christians? (ELCA, 2001, call 800-638-3522, ext. 2996, or download from the ELCA Web site .
• Navigating Through a Stipulated Freedom by Paul J. Kirbas (Cloverdale Books, 2007).
• Playing God? by Ted Peters (Routledge, 1996).
• The Stem Cell Debate by Ted Peters (Fortress Press, 2007).
• "Watching Our Language: The Human Embryo Stem Cell Controversy" by Hans Tiefel (Journal of Lutheran Ethics).
Genesis tells us that on the sixth day of creation, newly honed human ears heard God’s first command: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth” (1:28). Ever since, the birthing and raising of children has given meaning to human life.
But not everyone has the ability to fulfill this divine decree. Sarah initially realized her dream of children through her slave Hagar (Genesis 16). Rachel cried to Jacob, “Give me children, or I shall die” (Genesis 30:1). And barren Hannah bargained with God: “O Lord of hosts, if only you will ... give to your servant a male child, then I will set him before you as a Nazarite until the day of his death” (1 Samuel 1:11).
Today those who cry out with Sarah, Rachel and Hannah don’t turn to their slaves or to divine bargaining in order to be fruitful and multiply. They turn to reproductive technologies.
Infertility is a disease of the reproductive system, usually defined as the inability to achieve a pregnancy after trying for one year. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, it affects approximately one out of 10 U.S. couples of reproductive age. Each year more than 1 million women of reproductive age—approximately 2 percent—use infertility services. Reproductive technologies make it possible for many people to have a genetically related child.
Assisted reproductive technologies include a number of medical techniques that increase the likelihood of fertilization by manipulating sperm and eggs in the laboratory. ARTs can’t treat all cases of infertility but do offer a solution in many cases.
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